Fifteen years ago today, the United States suffered the most catastrophic terror attack in its history.
At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 17 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower. At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
The final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, never reached its intended target. An incredible passenger revolt forced the radical Islamic terrorists piloting the plane to nosedive into a field in Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m.
246 people were killed on those planes, excluding the terrorists. All told, 2,996 people died on 9/11 as a result of a single radical ideology.
Fifteen years later, that ideology is as powerful as ever. It has mutated into various forms, some more aggressive than others, but all with the same intent. Those who do not bow to radical Islam are to be killed. Men, women, and children across the globe have been casualties of this barbaric ideology. It is merciless, and its practitioners are devoted unto death.
We have fought–sometimes effectively–this ideology, but in the end, it continues to flourish, fed by the blood of its victims.
More simply, it is called evil. Evil took the lives of 2,996 people on this day fifteen years ago.
While our heads may fall in remembrance of those we lost, we will not fall prey to sadness and to fear. We will not crumble in defeat. We will stand resolute in the face of the darkness because a simple yet profound ideology keeps American eyes burning bright. The fire of human freedom is far more powerful than death.
As then-President George W. Bush said shortly after the attacks:
“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors…
Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could…
America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining…”
Our resolve to defeat the scourge of radical Islam is made only stronger by the deaths of the 2,996. Our scars have only furthered our resolve to obliterate this heinous and wicked ideology once and for all.
Today we may stand in silence for the dead, but tomorrow, we continue the fight.